New Smart #1 and BYD Atto 3 vs Kia Niro EV: costs

The #1 is a new type of Smart: an electric SUV. But it faces competition from another fresh face and an established favourite...

Smart #1 front cornering

Buying and owning

Costs, equipment, reliability, safety and security

Given that the Kia Niro EV has the highest brochure price, it’s disappointing that it’s the only one that doesn’t come with a heat pump as standard for more efficient warming of the interior in cold weather. If you want one, it’ll cost you £900 extra. 

As we’ve mentioned already, the Niro is the only one to do without electric seat adjustment or a surround-view monitor, plus it misses out on the electric tailgate and panoramic glass roof that are standard on its rivals. If you want all of that stuff, you’ll be spending a hefty £43,195 on the range-topping 4 version. Remember the days when Kia was a budget brand? Well, they’re long gone.

BYD Atto 3 front cornering

However, this isn’t all bad news, because the desirability of the Kia badge these days means the Niro is likely to be worth the most when you sell it in the future. Factor this in, along with the near-£800 discount you’ll get if you haggle with your dealer or buy online via our free New Car Buying service, and it’ll cost a cash buyer the least to own in the long run. The BYD Atto 3 is likely to be the priciest, mainly due to its faster rate of depreciation and surprisingly high servicing costs.

It’s a different story if you’re signing up to a PCP finance agreement. Put down a £3900 deposit for a three-year deal and, assuming a limit of 10,000 miles per year, you’ll pay £588 a month for the Niro. The Atto 3 will cost £556 on the same terms, thanks to a generous £3000 contribution towards your deposit from BYD. The Smart #1 wasn’t officially on sale at the time of writing, so Smart was unable to provide a quote.

However, despite its newness, Euro NCAP has published a full safety report on the #1. Like the other two cars in this test, it scored five stars overall – although it notched up even better marks for its ability to protect adult occupants in an accident. While the Niro scored the fewest points for adult and child crash protection, it still impressed by wider class standards.

Kia Niro EV front cornering

All three come with automatic emergency braking (AEB) to help you avoid accidents in the first place, along with blindspot monitoring and traffic sign recognition. The Atto 3 and #1 add rear cross-traffic alert (warning you of the presence of other cars when you’re backing out onto a road), while the former adds the same technology for situations when you need to come out nose first.

The Atto 3 and #1 are brand new, so we can’t yet give you much of a steer on how reliable they’ll be. We can, however, tell you that the e-Niro – the Niro EV’s predecessor – was one of the most dependable electric cars in the most recent What Car? Reliability Survey. Kia came seventh (out of 32) in the overall brand league table.

The Niro comes with a generous seven-year/100,000-mile warranty on the majority of components, including the battery. The Atto 3 gets a four-year/75,000-mile warranty on most bits, with eight years’ cover on the battery. Meanwhile, the #1 comes with a three-year/unlimited-mileage warranty, with eight years (or 125,000 miles) worth of cover on the battery.

Smart #1 vs BYD Atto 3 vs Kia Niro EV costs

Mind you, Smart’s free servicing package covers the #1 not only for scheduled maintenance for the first three years (capped at 30,000 miles), but also ‘wear and tear’ items such as brake pads and windscreen wipers (but not tyres).

The #1 also impresses with how quickly it can take on electricity. It can accept rates of up to 150kW from a suitably powerful public CCS outlet for a 10-80% charge in as little as 27 minutes – an average rate of nearly six miles for every minute you’re waiting. Due to much slower maximum charging rates, you’ll be waiting 40 to 45 minutes for the same top-up in the other two. That works out to less than four miles per minute.

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